I know... simple question... but I am curious as to where the base stands on this issue...
Some are leaning one way, others another...
But bottom line, what is the perception of this team?
I personally do like the make up of the team... There ARE a few question marks... But if things go right, I have a better feeling about this team than ones even in recent memory.
I do believe they have what it takes to surprise, and take a 3-6 position for a playoff run.
Of course, it will all depend on how they handle the other teams in the division.
I know many can or may assume my rose coloured glasses are tinting the issue...
But the things Im looking at that leads me this way are:
1) 2 X 30 goal scorers on this team for the first time in 20 years.
2) 2 X potential 60 point centerman, and an Eller who is one year closer to his breakout (even if he is a 20 20 guy, he's turning to be a very valuable addition)
3) Gionta, Bourque, and Gomez... recovery from injuries, and second chances... I feel that 2/3 is plausible
4) Prust, White, Nokelainen, Geoffrion, Leblanc, Moen... They are hard 3rd/4th liners, who will make the opposition definately NOT like coming to Montreal just that much more.
On the point...
2) Markov returning, helping the PP
3) Kaberle rounding in to a form... IMO he's my #1 belief of a turnaround season for him.
4) Emelin +1 year of experience
5) Gorges (mr 250+ blocked shots)
6) Bouillon, Weber, & Diaz... all competent d-men...
along with the slew of strong prospects on the point coming up, and a couple of prospects who could still very well surprise.
Last but not least, Price... IMO he's another year older, playing with IMO a better experienced team, and more prospects coming throught the chute offensively (I.E. Who's to say Galchenyuk doesnt do what Bergeron requested, and forces the issue of being a Canadien this year? He DID say it was up to Galchenyuk @ the training camp... we havent had this tiered level prospect at one of our training camps in a very LONG time.)
Not to say Im expecting the world, but if he's currently a 40-50 point guy, I would think that would help better our chances...
Who the heck knows if the Habs will make the playoffs.
Is Gomez going to play top minutes in over 30 games?
Are the top habs going down again with very long injuries?
Is Martin coming back?
Is PG coming back?
Are the habs going to lose another 40 one goal games?
If your answer is yes to all above then I expect the Habs will not make the playoffs by less then 6 points.
The Habs have made many changes. Most of the changes are in management so that will take a few years to change the Habs from bottom dwellers to a top ten team. Timmons is NOW in charge of the prospects with NO interference from anybody. On the ice for this year the team will have a very different look and feel. Therrien is NOT Martin. I expect the team to forecheck much deeper and with two men because the dmen are very mobile. I am not sure at all if Markov will regain his speed, I fear he will NOT and will become a stay at home dman.
No way Habs play the entire year with only ONE top offensive line. THIS will change for sure. Therrien will not stand for Bourque to float and Kostitsyn is GONEZO leaving his spot to almost anybody that will work hard EVERY night.
After last year, I am sure Therrien will have full authority to sit anybody or even send ANYBODY down to Hamilton as there are NO MORE FREE PASSES for veterans.
Going forward and during the whole year the rookies will get a look see.
The Canadian will put a high priority on the development of those prospects cost what may. These prospects need to know the speed of the NHL, the size of the NHL, the overall toughness needed every night in the NHL. This is the way to the future Canadians and that top ten future team.
The Habs may indeed have a losing year again BUT not like last year, not at all like last year. The Habs won't look or feel like last year.
The core of young players are going to stand up a lot more and DEMAND every body put in the effort every night. Might even be a few closed door eye to eye "disagreements" as the core starts to impose the NEW ORDER OF THINGS. ALL the float will not have a good easy year this time, This is not Martin giving the vets a free pass again.
This years motto will be " si vous ne l'aimez pas, dehors l'ostie en tabarnac"
I'm not going to vote here, it's too unpredictable. Too many variables for the habs, plenty of youth and inexperience could make it tough, but the talent is there to get in, but a lot would have to go right though.
So many question marks on the roster, not everything is negative. If Markov returns to form, we get in imo, if not, it could be a long year.
No doubt, IF healthy. They would have made it last year had they not been decimated.
That being said, even if they have some injuries, they have a hell of a lot more depth in Hamilton to call on than they did last year. I know the new crop is right out of junior, but I think the bulldogs are gonna ROCK!
Imo, Pens, Caps, Flyers, Bruins and Rangers are basically locks. So 3 spots left. I think the Hurricanes and Lightning also have a very good chances to make it.. So the final spot is almost everybody's game.
We have too many question marks. Our defense is still way too soft. Will Markov stay healthy. Will we have offensive support from our 2nd line? Which mode will Price be in? Will Bourque show that he wants to play for us.
Honestly, I dont think we will make it. Our current line up is already weak and we will probably face some important injuries again so yeah.. Another upcoming long summer.
I think Rangers, Pens, Caps, Bruins, Flyers are definitely better than the Canadiens. Also, I believe Tampa Bay (adding Matt Carle, Sami Salo, Anders Lindback, Benoit Pouliot) and Carolina (adding Jordan Staal, Alexander Semin, Joe Corvo) are much improved over last year. It'll be very difficult for Montreal to make the playoffs. I see them more at the level of the Islanders, Leafs, Jets, Sabres basically trying to remain out of the Eastern Conference basement. But ya never know, right?
I'm thinking they will be a bubble team that just misses the playoffs. The defense is a worrying point for me especially in the 5-6 slots. I was hoping that the habs would add an imposing defensman to help out in the crease area because Price was hung out to dry too frequently around the net last season. I admire the courage that Bouillon plays with, but he is not the answer.
The habs also need another top 6 winger, especially since the bottom 6 looks to have limited scoring potential.